The last time Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) was the game to play, blue eyeliner and leg warmers were also hot, so it figures that the only guy still obsessed with it would be serving a life sentence in a Wisconsin prison. Unfortunately for Kevin Singer, however, his life is about to become all dungeon and no dragon.
Earlier this week the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Singer's lawsuit challenging the Waupun Correctional Institution's ban on D&D. Singer, who is serving a life sentence for murdering his sister's boyfriend, claimed that his Fourteenth and First Amendment rights had been violated when the prison confiscated his D&D paraphernalia--a step taken by prison officials after they received an anonymous letter expressing concern that Singer was forming a "D&D gang," otherwise known outside of the Wisconsin prison system as "a huge posse of nerds."
I don't know what's weirder, that the prison actually considers this throwback a legitimate threat or that a hardcore D&D player ended up in jail instead of as an accountant.
This isn't the first time D&D has been accused of leading to deviant behavior. In the 80s the game was said to promote devil worship, witchcraft and suicide. This time around, according to the court ruling, D&D has been found to promote "violence and addictive escape behavior." And here I thought the only behavior it led to was a propensity to join Lord of the Rings fan clubs.
While I don't feel bad for Singer (he did bludgeon a human being to death after all), I do think prisoners should have the right to engage in role playing games. Personally I wouldn't mind if violent felons such as Kevin Singer focused their attention on Half-Trolls and Vorpal Swords rather than real world escape plans.
Hopefully he'll still be allowed to watch VHS tapes of "Mork & Mindy." Then again, they may nurture escape fantasies to Ork.
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